3 simple steps to help you feel less anxious in uncertain times

At present, we are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty in the UK - our political leadership, Brexit (deal, no deal… or what?), environmental concerns and climate change, zero-hours working, and economic uncertainty. No wonder people are feeling pretty anxious, stressed, and frustrated!

Everyday uncertainty and problems

This sense of uncertainty is undeniably permeating into every aspect of our lives… do you go ahead and book that holiday? What if the company goes bust, or the airline? It’s understandable that this uncertainty 'leaks' into your everyday life. It’s hard enough juggling family, work, finances, relationships, and everything else going on in your life.

You may find yourself feeling more anxious, stressed, or frustrated, maybe even a little despondent or depressed? Or, just generally feeling sad, especially when you can’t actually change the political, financial, or environmental climate single-handedly. You can do your bit – like recycling, voting, and trying to save, but this doesn’t stop the constant barrage of things you can’t control.

On a daily basis, you may be struggling to see how things can change. Maybe everyone around you talks constantly about everything that’s wrong in the world. Or maybe it’s easier to just bury yourself in your phone - scrolling through news feeds, memes, funny cat videos, and games. These activities are great at whiling away the time, but they don’t usually take away the feelings of anxiety or stress. They are just a temporary break.

Three simple things to try

What if you could do something that could help with what you’re feeling? Not just a temporary break, but something simple that brings a little contentment into your life. These small steps can help you work up to bigger, long-lasting changes to the way you feel.

These three simple steps can start to help relieve some of the anxiety and stress.

1. Limit the news you consume

It’s good to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world, but you can limit what you consume by choosing one single news outlet and limiting the amount of time you spend consuming the news. For example, you may decide to only listen to one news bulletin a day.

Sometimes just reading/listening to all the 'bad' news can raise your stress levels, and make you feel more anxious, unconsciously adding to your stress levels. I’m sure there’s already enough going on in your daily life without adding to your worries by taking on even more information!

2. Limit your social media use

Again, limiting the time you spend on social media can help with relieving stress. No unfettered comments from strangers. No 'comparing' or scrolling through streams and streams of information endlessly. No reading around on every topic that pops up on your screen! Perhaps only allow yourself an hour a day to just 'browse'.

When there’s so much 'noise' coming at you from all angles, there’s rarely room for your mind to rest and recuperate from the onslaught of information. Spending less time on social media could help with giving your mind a bit of a break from the constant whirl of info.

3. Seek connection with other people

Pick up the phone and talk to people - friends and family. Where you’d normally send a text or group chat, it takes fewer minutes for a quick phone call. Conversation and laughter are the best ways to connect with people. The feeling of kinship that comes from a chat can really help you feel better in most situations.

Texts, 'lols', and emojis can never quite replace a good belly laugh, a little harmless gossip, and actually telling someone how your day has been.

Seeking further help

Once you’ve tried these simple steps, if the anxiety and stress are still the same and/or beginning to feel overwhelming, there’s just one more thing you can do - seek some counselling. Talking to someone about your worries, depression, anxiety, and stress can really help you get through the most uncertain times in your life.

There doesn’t have to be anything 'big' happening in your life to push you to seek counselling. It’s just really helpful to have a professional who can help you work through some of your daily difficulties.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW9 & SE15
Written by Dr Emma Radway-Bright, Online Counselling & Life Coaching
London SW9 & SE15

Emma is one of the Lead Therapists at I Need Therapy, a private practice in South London. She's a qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist, with membership of the National Counselling Society (NCS) as an Accredited Registrant. Her experience spans all the common mental health and wellness challenges that we all encounter at some point in our lives.

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